30 in 30: The Baltimore Orioles
2016 Record: 89-73
2016 Finish: 8th in MLB, 5th in AL
2016 in Review
If you thought it was going to be anyone but Mark Trumbo, you are a fool. Mark Trumbo was not only the biggest surprise in Baltimore, he was the biggest surprise in the entire league. Mark Trumbo was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Orioles along with C.J. Riefenhauser for backup catcher Steve Clevenger. BACKUP. CATCHER. A backup catcher so good that the Mariners cut him after Clevenger sent multiple racist tweets. So that was a smart move on Seattle's part.
The previous two seasons, Trumbo had interesting years playing for Arizona and Seattle. The one-time All-Star and 2011 Rookie of the Year Runner Up, had fallen on hard times. Perhaps the game had given up on him, or perhaps his abilities were running out. Trumbo was about to reach 30 years old, a benchmark for a lot of guys to leave the game. What did Trumbo do? He brought the goddamn thunder.
In 2014 and 2015 combined Mark Trumbo snagged 210 hits, knocked in 125 RBIs and slugged 36 homers. Those numbers are combined. In 2016, Trumbo had 156 hits, 108 RBIs and smashed a league-leading 47 Home Runs. To match your two-year totals in one season is actually insane. Not to mention, Trumbo's homer in the American League Wildcard game were the only runs scored by Baltimore in the Playoffs. AND MARK TRUMBO WAS TRADED FOR A BACKUP CATCHER.
There's not a whole lot to be disappointed about in Baltimore. The AL East is a very difficult division to play in and one that requires great hitting, solid fielding, and reliable pitching... WAIT... PITCHING. Okay, scratch that, I do have something I'm disappointed in.
Yovani Gallardo was signed to a 3-year deal worth $33 million dollars just before the 2016 season. Gallardo was coming off a very successful 2015 with the Texas Rangers, where he won 13 games and held an ERA of 3.42. Gallardo was good in his years prior to signing with Baltimore and he was brought in to obviously signed to be the #3 guy in the O's rotation.
He should have been the #2 guy because he was awful. Gallardo pitched 23 games, going 6-8 with an ERA of 5.42, a full 2 runs higher than the year before. Gallardo represents a misunderstanding of the needs of this team. They need a solid, reliable starter. Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman are going to lead this team, but what they need is a strong veteran to anchor them. Ubaldo Jimenez is not that guy, Yovani Gallardo was not that guy. It's going to be a problem for this team going forward, but Yovani Gallardo will not be a cause of that problem as he was shipped off to Seattle for... an outfielder... Dan Duquette...YOU GOOD?
2017 will be a big year for the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles may have gotten close in the past few years, but the Buck Showalter Era has been full of years on the edge. This year the Baltimore Orioles have skated by on a bombastic offense and very shaky pitching. The years they've gone far into the playoffs have been down years in the AL East, allowing them to walk to the postseason. Boston and Toronto have bolstered their lineups with pitching and power in the arms race to the AL East title, while Baltimore seemed more content spending more on players of a similar or lesser caliber.
That's the issue at hand here in Baltimore, the seeming lack of awareness. Is that Dan Duquette's fault? Maybe. Is it Showalter's fault? Maybe. The issue is that everyone around Baltimore is winning or going out there trying to get the guys to win. The Orioles spent a chunk of the offseason waiting for Mark Trumbo to not get offers so his value would decrease. This is the guy who exploded offensively for you and you're gonna freeze him out. Talk about instilling confidence in a star player. Come on, Baltimore. You're in the AL East, don't forget that.